Trema tomentosa (ULMACEAE) Poison Peach

Plants to Plant

Woody shrub or small tree to 5 m, evergreen, young branches pubescent, useful in revegetation. Produces canopy quickly which can be lifted by trimming the lower branches. Leaves ovate to lanceolate, to 8 cm long, strongly 3-veined from base, main veins usually hairy below; petiole 5-10 mm long. Resembles Chinese Elm, also in the Ulmaceae Elms, but does not have such coarsely crenate edges. Trema is finely crenate. Toxic to stock if they eat large quanities.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Name

Trema from Greek trema meaning perforation, aperture, or orifice, in reference to the pitted seed coat; tomentosa from Latin tomentose covered with short and curled or curved matted hairs in reference to the leaf surface.
Photo: Robert Whyte

Fruit

Very small greenish flowers and small black fruit. Leaves are reported to be toxic to cattle. Many local birds eat the fruit. Host plant for the Speckled Line-blue butterfly so the leaves are eaten by its caterpillar.

Photo: Robert Whyte